Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Notice of Interpretation explaining that it will enforce Title IX's prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination based on gender identity. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance.
The Department's interpretation stems from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, issued one year ago this week, in which the Supreme Court recognized that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex.
Consistent with its interpretation, OCR indicated it will investigate complaints alleging that an individual has been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in education programs or activities. This includes allegations of individuals being harassed, disciplined in a discriminatory manner, excluded from, denied equal access to, or subjected to sex stereotyping in academic or extracurricular opportunities and other education programs or activities, denied the benefits of such programs or activities, or otherwise treated differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Where OCR’s investigation reveals that one or more individuals has been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the resolution of such a complaint will address the specific compliance concerns or violations identified in the course of the investigation.
Today's Notice of Interpretation is consistent with President Biden's Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity and the Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.